Overview

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Although shingles can occur anywhere on your body, it most often appears as a single stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or the right side of your torso.

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you've had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles.

While it isn't a life-threatening condition, shingles can be very painful. Vaccines can help reduce the risk of shingles, while early treatment can help shorten a shingles infection and lessen the chance of complications.

Aug. 26, 2017
References
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  2. Yun H, et al. Longterm effectiveness of herpes zoster vaccine among patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Journal of Rheumatology. In press. Accessed May 9, 2017.
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  4. Bennett JE, et al., eds. Chickenpox and herpes zoster (varicella-zoster virus). In: Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 9, 2017.
  5. Shingles: Clinical overview. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/shingles/hcp/clinical-overview.html. Accessed May 9, 2017.
  6. Longo DL, et al., eds. Varicella-zoster virus infections. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed May 9, 2017.
  7. Albrecht MA. Vaccination for the prevention of shingles (herpes zoster). https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 9, 2017.
  8. Shingles/herpes zoster vaccine recommendations. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/shingles/hcp/recommendations.html. Accessed May 18, 2017.